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Taiwan Church News

3356 Edition

June 20 -26, 2016

Headline News

 

PCT Leaders Wary About The Homogeneity Of Taiwan Churches

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

On June 19, a seminar named "Christian Faith And Social Survey In Taiwan" was hosted by Chi-nan Presbyterian Church of Chi-sin presbytery and co-operated with Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office. Two famous PCT laity leaders, Prof Su Kuo-hsien(Dean of NTU's College of Social Sciences) and Ms Lu Yueh-wen(Vice President of World Communion of Reformed Churches) and one renown PCT pastor(Rev. Lu Jun-yee) were invited to address the issue about Christian's social responsibility.

Prof Su Kuo-hsien affirmed the church's critical function in promoting social fairness and justice in modern society, but he also insisted the necessary condition of the church's acceptance of diversity and heterogeneity in advance was equally important. According to some pew surveys of Taiwan churches in the past year, Prof Su was quite wary about the phenomenon of homogeneity within the churches. For example, the concern of church growth became a major issue within churches yet without an objective basis to measure its outcome and impact. A pew survey within Taiwan churches became very subjective and its results depended on whom were interviewed.

Making some comparisons with some current missionary-orientated Christian denominations, Rev Lu reminded the audience about the Catholics' careful avoidance of utilizing evangelical terms when social resources were introduced to help the needy. It also prompted Rev Lu to ask himself the question: what is the meaning for church to exist in our society?

"Jesus loves us, he also loves you", Rev Lu indicated that this was social identity of the church. As church without social identity would lose her significant meaning to exist, engaging in the ministry for social communities was a necessary mission of the church, remarked Rev Lu.

During the seminar, the issue of youth ministry was also highly focused. Ms Lu Yueh-wen pointed out, though it was common for churches to recognize membership mutually across denominations in US and Canada, the identity-border between Taiwan's denominations became more and more distinct. It was very likely due to the stances toward some specific issues, like gender or sexual orientation, were easily driven into an opposing debate and even stand-off in Taiwan churches.

Ms Lu eloquently criticized some PCT pastors' harassment to stop financial donation to the magazine of The New Messenger if they dared keep publishing discussions or debates on some contentious topics like LGBT rights in the church. "Couldn't we tolerate different voices in the church afterwards?", "When was our church became so fascist and so coward?", protested Ms Lu.

Rev Ng Tiat-gan, director of Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office, concluded that this particular seminar was designed to be a reference point for Christians' social practice. The audience were not only expected to be touched by the speakers' revealing analysis but also be inspired to act as the disciples of Jesus' mission.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Prof Su Kuo-hsien(second from right, Dean of NTU's College of Social Sciences) and Ms Lu Yueh-wen(first from left, Vice President of World Communion of Reformed Churches) and Rev. Lu Jun-yee (second from left, the renown former pastor of Taipei East Gate Presbyterian Church) were invited to address the issue about Christian's social responsibility at a June 19 seminar named "Christian Faith And Social Survey In Taiwan", which was hosted by Chi-nan Presbyterian Church of Chi-sin presbytery and co-operated with Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office. Rev Ng Tiat-gan ( first from right, director of Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office) acted as the host of the seminar.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 
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Taiwan Church News

3355 Edition

June 13 - 19, 2016

Editorial

 

PCT's Missionary Attitude Toward A New Era

 

"Follow Jesus In Unity And Be A Loyal Servant in Humbleness", this is the main thread of PCT General Assembly's proceedings from 2016 to 2017. And this very catchphrase, after our enthusiastic celebration of PCT150, symbolizes PCT's critical attitude and theological reflection marching toward a new era. Through this thematic thread, PCT's determination to root in Taiwan society and fulfill her comprehensive ministries is demonstrated.

Reflecting the history of the Christian evangelical movements, especially within the 19th century theological reflections of ecumenism, major missionary sending countries had only one vision: preaching no denominational creeds but only Christ. This is a vision to materialize the ideal of "one Lord, one faith and one baptism" in the third world's evangelical missions.

Though this vision was not fulfilled, due to denominational creeds and teachings, resulting a splitting and fractious Christianity within Asian and African areas in last century, we still learned a very precious lesson in the missionary history about what unity in Christ means: not a nominal equality, but a recognition and respect of the difference among us and a common effort to pursue our values in faith. And this is the base of the 20th century's ecumenical missionary movement!

Today, when we talk about evangelical mission, we are not pursuing the unity transcending or across the denominational lines. Instead, we do our missions or work for unity following the spirit of Presbyterianism and the confessions of PCT. If we do not stand firm on the teachings and confession of PCT, our missionary ministries and ecumenical visions would be lost in those flooding data and extravagant propaganda.

In his ministry, Jesus did not create any magic words to attract the people or guarantee his disciples any successful life. Strictly speaking, from a historical perspective, Jesus' mission ended up as a failure. Jesus' disciples followed him with their own desires and dreams, expecting to reap religious power and glory. They did not understand Jesus' love and mission, until they experienced his resurrection which dramatically made them surrendered to proclaim and witness for Jesus Christ. In the past 150 years, PCT have also experienced such "resurrected presence of Christ" within different power regimes. These experiences of peace, justice and life in our Lord enable us to carry on witnessing God's love and compassion to Taiwan society.

Therefore, when we talk about "unity in Christ" again, it  is not a mindset of nominal equality, but an understanding and respect for the difference within multiple ethnicity and cultures; it is no more a provocation in the name of language or ethnicity, but with the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus to learn our difference in respect and love Taiwan in care. When we are marching toward a new era, allow us to remind each other: we do not come to command or order, but come to serve. Wherever our ministries are located, in the church or the affiliated institutes, we are all commissioned to manage, not to perform or invest. Only could we be humble down before God and ask Him piously how should we do to glorify His name, the church and the believers and the people are to be blessed by Lord!

Only in the spirit of "Follow Jesus In Unity And Be A Loyal Servant in Humbleness", we are able to hold fast the six dimensions of our evangelical mission making our ministries more comprehensive and participate in the building of the kingdom of God proclaiming His name be praised!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3355 Edition

June 13 - 19, 2016

Headline News

 

At Rev Dr. William Sia's Centenary Birthday, Nan-tou Church Donates An Itinerary Medical-Service Vehicle To Erlin Christian Hospital


Reported by Simon Lin

 

In the evening on June 12, when the 95-years-old Mrs Young Chiong-yin, whose husband was praised as "Taiwan's Albert Schweitzer" - Rev. Dr. William Sia, stepped up on the platform of a centenary memorial musical concert, the audience paid her their sincere tributes and utmost enthusiastic applauds. This musical concert, commemorating the centenary birthday of Rev. Dr. Wiiliam Sia, was jointly held by PCT's Youth Ministry Committee and Nan-tou District Assembly of Taichung Presbytery.

To commemorate the pioneering medical service and the outstanding pastoral contribution of Rev. Dr. William Sia along the south-western coast of Taiwan in 1950s and 1960s, Nan-tou church specially offered an itinerary medical-service vehicle to Erlin Christian Hospital(ECH) expecting to carry on Rev. Dr. William Sia's evangelical spirit of serving the elders in distant and hard-to-fetch rural areas.

Elder Tsai Kwang-you, representing Nan-tou church to donate the itinerary medical-service vehicle to ECH, honored ECH as the first western hospital, launched by Rev. Dr. William Sia and independently run by all the Taiwanese Christians since 1964, still carrying on Rev. Dr. William Sia's enthusiasm of medical ministry serving the poor across the areas of Nan-tou, Pili, Erlin, Peimen and etc.

"Don't mistake the medical ministry as the money mathematics", this Rev. Dr. William Sia's wise saying was again quoted by Elder Tsai to warn against Taiwan society's stubborn utilitarian thoughts about the medicine practice. Because "more people willing to serve the needy with a foolish heart in the bottom society and the church is the most important thing!",  reminds Elder Tsai.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

In order to commemorate Rev. Dr. William Sia's evangelical and medical service for the poor and the needy in distant rural areas, Nan-tou church donates an itinerary medical-service vehicle to Erlin Christian Hospital on 12 June 2016.


Mrs Young Chiong-yin, a 95-years-old doctor, whose husband was praised as "Taiwan's Albert Schweitzer" - Rev. Dr. William Sia, received the flower boutiques from her grand children at Rev. Dr. William Sia's centenary memorial musical concert.

Photos by Simon Lin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3348 Edition

April 25 - May 1, 2016

Headline News

 

Chen Ding-nan Is Commemorated After His Decease Ten Years Ago

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

Former Justice Minister Mr Chen Ding-nan, known as Mr Clean and also a former magistrate of Ilan County, has passed away for 10 years. From March 31 to April 24, an archive show of Chen was held at Taipei's Chongshan Citizen House introducing Chen's biographical events, manuscripts, documents and personal letters to the families. Incessant visitors came to this archive show paying their tributes to this legendary Taiwanese hero in modern Taiwan history.

Chen Ding-nan once remarked about himself: "Some people say I am a mania for clean politics, in fact I just refuse to collude with any dirty tricks to grab money; some people say I am a cold-blooded bureaucrat, in fact I just want to be brave when I face those privileged class; some people say I am against business, in fact I just want to preserve a clean land for our descendants". What Chen Ding-nan stood for in his short life span, 1943 - 2006, were values of justice, freedom and love of this home land, no wonder so many people saw him as a hero in Taiwan's public service.

The most remarkable story of Chen, when he was still the magistrate of Ilan County, was his fearless decision to reject the establishment of the Sixth Naphtha Cracker of Formosa Plastics Group in Ilan. This is a critical moment for Taiwanese people successfully defeated the covetous capitalism in 1980s, and a legendary story inspiring the environmental movement in Taiwan for decades.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Commemorating Chen Ding-nan, Mr Clean, Taiwanese people came to his archive show to learn him more.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 
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Taiwan Church News

3347 Edition

April 18 - 24, 2016

Editorial

 

Earthquake Is Not The End Of The World, But A New Beginning Of Another Hope

 

Due to an illegal overload, a Korean motor vessel Sewol carrying 476 passengers capsized en route from Incheon port to Jeju island on 16 April 2014. This tragic accident reached a heartbreaking death toll over 200 people, most of them were Danwon high school students and teachers. Just two years later, in the early morning on 16 April 2016, Japan's Kumamoto prefecture was seriously hit by a powerful earthquake in Richter scale of 7.3, generating a series of disastrous catastrophes: big scale land slides, bridges broken, house destroyed, railroad and public transportation disabled, millennial temple collapsed, dozens of people dead, over 2,000 people injured and about 100,000 people evacuated. In addition, there were some people buried alive or missing under the wreckage.

In the same day of Komamoto's trembling quake, a strong earthquake in Richter scale of 7.8 also devastatingly hit Ecuador in South America. The quake killed at least 661 people, injured more than 27,732 people and brought down innumerable houses. In order to warn the Pacific-rim countries about a more deadly impact of tsunami, Ecuador and Columbia also issued a joint-statement to highlight the possible danger from the ocean.

Seeing these natural disasters and man-made misdemeanor, our hearts were really sad! If it was not an immediate rescue operation, it was unthinkable for many buried Japanese people, exclaiming "This is the end of world!" at the moment of the strong earthquake arrived, to see their families again.

When two Pacific-rim countries, Japan and Ecuador, were devastatingly rocked in a very short period of time by a series of strong earthquakes, costing precious lives and generating tremendous casualties and panics, it's inevitable that we people living in Taiwan will start to worry an unpredictable but deadly quake is just waiting for us around the corner. Such kind of worry about the catastrophic event in the future should not be translated into a hopeless fear about the end of world, but a kind of hope of a brand new beginning.

Prof Jürgen Moltmann, the distinguished German theologian famous for his theology of hope, which was inspired and illuminated by his miserable lives living in the concentration camp of war captives after WWII, eloquently proposed his eschatology in his masterly tome <The Coming of God>: we should not interpret eschatology as a theology of the end of creation, or as the end of everything, as this is a negative mindset and also a pessimistic faith. The point of Christian eschatology is a discourse of renewal and recreation. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the creation goes toward a new milestone and refreshes in the darkness.

Basically, what Prof Moltmann emphasizes in his eschatology is just like what Jesus said in scripture: "I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!"(John 16:33).

From the last teachings of Jesus in his last week at Jerusalem and the persevering faith of Job in his incredible difficult and challenging life, we as Christians should understand the ultimate hope within sufferings lies on our Lord God. We have the responsibility to care and pray for the victims in recent earthquakes, enabling them to start their lives again in the darkness. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let our brothers and sisters in cries and sorrows march toward a new milestone. Earthquake is not the end of the world, but a new beginning of another hope!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3347 Edition

April 18 - 24, 2016

Church Ministry

 

PCT Visits German Institute Taipei For Commemorating The Reformation 500 In Taiwan

 

Reported by Lin Yi-yin

 

In order to celebrate the Reformation 500 in 2017, PCT, led by General Secretary Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong and his staffs, pays an official visit to German Institute Taipei(GIT) on April 14. Well received by GIT's Director General, Mr Martin Eberts, Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong formally invites GIT to jointly hold a series of commemorative activities celebrating the Reformation 500 from this October. Mr Martin Eberts is pleased to accept this cooperative initiative instantly and agrees to deliver a lecture about the experiences of transitional justice in Germany in this coming event.

From this October to next year's October, a series of activities commemorative of The Reformation 500 will be jointly hold by PCT, Tainan Theological College and Seminary, Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary and South & North Publishing Company. The main topic of this significant event will focus on the Reformation and Human Rights.

Three distinguished German theologians, including Dr Wolfgang Huber, Fr. Anselm Grün and Prof Dr Volker Leppin, will arrive Taiwan in this October. They are invited to deliver theological reflections concerning the relationships between the Reformation and contemporary issues, like globalization, universal human rights, Christian ethics, transitional justice and etc, in a series of activities jointly hold by PCT, GIT and Department of German Language and Culture of SooChow University.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Well received by GIT's Director General, Mr Martin Eberts(4th from right in red tie), PCT General Secretary Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong(3rd from right) together with his staffs formally invites German Institute Taipei to jointly hold a series of commemorative activities celebrating the Reformation 500 from this October.

Photo by Lin Yi-yin

 
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